Creative Torbay


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English Riviera GeoparkEnglish Riviera Geopark English Riviera Geopark

The English Riviera Geopark – the worlds first urban Geopark

In September 2007 Torbay received international recognition for it rich geological and cultural heritage, it became one of just 57 areas around the world to be endorsed by UNESCO and welcomed into the network of Global Geoparks. Geoparks aims to protect geo-diversity and to promote geological, historical and cultural heritage to the general public as well as to support sustainable economic development. The status pulls together all of our wonderful heritage and celebrates it on an international stage.

Torbay’s past is hidden within its beautiful landscape and coastline. The Bay’s striking limestone headlands were formed around 400 million years ago when the whole area would have been under warm tropical seas where corals thrived and trilobites scuttled across the sea floor, a time when Torbay was in fact south of the equator! Explore the end of Hopes Nose and you’ll find fossils of the corals that lived all those years ago. Over the next 100 million years these rocks were folded and fractured, under enormous pressures, as they were crumpled and pushed northwards by plate tectonic process. By 280 million years ago Torbay was at approximately the same latitude as the Sahara desert today, this is when the rocks now exposed around the inner areas of the Bay were formed. Look closely at the red sandstones around Roundham head and the patterns you see are evidence of ancient sand dunes, whilst the jumble of rocks and stones at the eastern end of Goodrington beach are evidence of flash floods that followed dramatic storms in distant mountains.

From a cultural perspective Torbay provides an amazing example of how geology influences both the history and development of an area; from the Bay’s earliest residents at Kents Cavern, through to the development of Torre Abbey and Cockington. Plus of course its use as a safe anchorage during the Napoleonic Wars and the construction of the forts at Berry Head to Agatha Christie, the most published author of all time.

If you are local, then you’re probably thinking “shame we’re no longer enjoying that tropical sunshine” but on your way to work or school look at the environment around you with fresh eyes and when you have a chance explore, this rich heritage forms part of who you are. You are the Geopark and the Geopark is you. Enjoy!

If you are not local then welcome to the worlds first urban Geopark!

To discover the amazing stories for yourself visit the English Riviera Geopark website, follow the English Riviera Geopark Trail or take a Geopark Cruise out into the Bay and discover how 400 million years of our dynamic planets history can be unravelled right here, stories of tropical seas and scorching deserts, raised beaches and drowned forests, hippopotami and sabre-toothed tiger, cave bear and earliest man.

For more information about the English Riviera Geopark or the European and Global Geopark Networks visit

Please remember the geology of Torbay is special so take only memories, all sites are protected by law.

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1 Stars

Geopark Revalidation Results! / <span>Wed 28th Sep 2011</span>Geopark Revalidation Results! / Wed 28th Sep 2011

The report of the two UNESCO evaluators that visited the Geopark back in June recently went before the European Geoparks Network Coordination Committe...

2 Stars

&apos;We love our Geopark&apos; Viral Film Launch / <span>Fri 12th Feb 2010</span>'We love our Geopark' Viral Film Launch / Fri 12th Feb 2010

The stunning natural heritage of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham has taken a starring role in a short film about the English Riviera Geopark. The ‘We Lo...

Millie Is The Star Of New Geopark Film / <span>Mon 8th Feb 2010</span>Millie Is The Star Of New Geopark Film / Mon 8th Feb 2010

A 10 year old schoolgirl is to star in a new film beaming the delights of Torbay's natural beauty around the world. Torbay's got Talent finalist Mill...

Geopark Festival Lines Up Dozens Of Events / <span>Thu 4th Feb 2010</span>Geopark Festival Lines Up Dozens Of Events / Thu 4th Feb 2010

The third annual English Riviera Geopark Festival is shaping up with more than two dozen events already on the calendar. The festival is staged to ce...

&apos;Viral Video&apos; Aims To Promote Torbay&apos;s Stunning Landscape / <span>Wed 3rd Feb 2010</span>'Viral Video' Aims To Promote Torbay's Stunning Landscape / Wed 3rd Feb 2010

The power of the internet is to be harnessed to help promote Torbay's natural attractions. A new film is being produced which highlights the delights...

My Events

Geopark Festival-Wild Swimming Walks: Dartmoor and South Devon. / <span>Sun 5th Jun 2016</span>Geopark Festival-Wild Swimming Walks: Dartmoor and South Devon. / Sun 5th Jun 2016

Join Sophie Pierce and Matt Newbury, authors of this stunning new book, for fascinating illustrated talk, an exciting swim to Roundham Head (optional...

Geopark Trail / <span>Sun 5th Jun 2016</span>Geopark Trail / Sun 5th Jun 2016

Come and celebrate the Geopark Festival at Cockington Country Park. Wind your way around the park following a special time trail that will lead you th...

Geopark festival-1 Mile Swim (charity swim DAA&amp;TSLSC) / <span>Sun 5th Jun 2016</span>Geopark festival-1 Mile Swim (charity swim DAA&TSLSC) / Sun 5th Jun 2016

Would you lie to challenge yourself to some wild swimming in Devon? if so, then why not try out our One Mie Sea Swim this 2016? Time:2pm Cost: £20...

Geopark Festival-Torbay Rocks! / <span>Sat 28th May</span> to <span>Sun 5th Jun 2016</span> <span>(1 week)</span>Geopark Festival-Torbay Rocks! / Sat 28th May to Sun 5th Jun 2016 (1 week)

Join us to celebrate all things geological for our Geopark Festival! Become a fossil hunter for the day with activities including a museum trail, rock...

Geopark Festival-Cavogs Dino Quest / <span>Sat 28th May</span> to <span>Sun 5th Jun 2016</span> <span>(1 week)</span>Geopark Festival-Cavogs Dino Quest / Sat 28th May to Sun 5th Jun 2016 (1 week)

Hunt for Dinosaurs around the woods, visitor centre and cave at Kents Cavern and carry out activities to reveal each ones name. Learn about the dinos...

My Reviews

Reviewed 4th Mar 2010


POETSfridayThe English Riviera Geopark is a great source of inspiration for POETSfriday.

Reviewed 20th Feb 2010

Deborah Treliving

Deborah TrelivingCongratulations to everyone involved in the English Riveria's success on becoming a Geopark! I look forward to future cultural exchanges and collaborations with Geoparks from across the globe.
I love the film:

Reviewed 21st Nov 2008

Creative Torbay

Creative TorbayHaving the GeoPark status is a fantastic achievement for the Bay
Now we can use the status to promote our wonderful Bay with it's rich
geology, important hertitage and stunning natural environment and culture.
The team from the GeoPark are doing a great job and need all our help in
ingraining the concept of the GeoPark into all of our lives.